The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

January 30, 2014

Jury convicts man of child porn

MERCER — A federal jury on Friday found a Mercer man guilty of seven charges relating to the production and possession of child pornography.

Earl D. Warner, 55, will be sentenced June 6 on six counts of producing child porn and one count of possession.

The jury heard three days of testimony from 11 witnesses, including Warner.

Warner could be sentenced to 15 to 30 years in prison on the production charges and up to 10 years on the possession charge. His sentencing was set for June 6.

Warner was a peripheral character in the investigation of Armando Cruz, 45, formerly of Mercer.

In an affidavit for a search warrant of Cruz’s home, an agent of the FBI’s Pittsburgh office said his office was notified by the FBI’s San Diego office that Cruz was believed to be inviting girls under the age of 12 to his home and taking photographs of them in “various stages of dress and undress.”

The San Diego office sent to Pittsburgh agents several hundred photographs of three girls, with at least five photos showing two of the girls with their breasts being exposed by an adult male hand. One of the girls was sleeping.

Two men, Cruz and Brandon W. Schroth, also were in the photos.

The photographs were discovered in Denver, where the FBI had searched the home of Jeffrey A. Mueller.

Schroth and Mueller have been prosecuted in federal courts.

Mueller, a friend of Schroth’s, had computer files entitled “Armcruz/XVkids” and “Brandon,” and a file that was an apparent combination of Cruz’s name and a victim’s name.

The FBI contacted state police for help in identifying the girls, and sent photos to a trooper of the girls in which they were fully clothed. The trooper met with a Mercer school official, reviewed the 2010 school yearbook, and identified the girls. The girls were 9, 10 and 11 during the time the photos were taken, in December 2010.

During the investigation, Cruz said Warner had taken photographs of naked children, federal officials said, and agents turned up photographs and videos created in April, June and July 2011 that Warner admitted he had taken.

Cruz pleaded guilty to federal charges of producing child porn and was sentenced in December 2012 to 35 years in prison. He also was sentenced to 8è to 20 years, to be served after his federal sentence ends, on a Mercer County charge of attempted involuntary deviate sexual intercourse.

Cruz testified at Warner’s trial, which might afford him the opportunity to be resentenced in the federal case to a shorter prison term.

Warner also faces state police charges of aggravated indecent assault, corruption of minors and indecent assault. The case is on the February trial list.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • To talk – or not – about police

    The mysterious agenda item, “No. 10,” at Farrell’s council meeting Monday became the center of a heated workshop and business session.

    July 29, 2014

  • Community thanks its first-responders

    Sharpsville honored its emergency responders Sunday at an event that included Mertz Towers residents as special guests.

    July 28, 2014

  • Drilling boom challenges state inspectors

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.

    July 28, 2014

  • Kidds Mill Covered Bridge A span of time

    Four generations of the Cadman family have enjoyed the Kidds Mill Covered Bridge, which is in Pymatuning Township near where the family’s ancestral farm is located.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Intruder hurts woman, takes $5

    A home invasion in Hermitage Friday night sent an elderly woman to the hospital and netted the robber $5.

    July 27, 2014

  • national night out March against crime set for Aug. 5

    At the last Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Commission meeting, Chief Riley Smoot Jr. presented the number of incidents for each of the four communities in May.

    Farrell topped out at 819.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • high street trail Peaceful pathways

    History buffs and picnickers in the Shenango Valley won’t have to drive to Sharpsville to hang out at the old Erie Canal extension lock. They’ll soon have the option to walk or roll in on bicycles and even powered chairs to visit Canal Park near the outflow of Shenango Dam.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • balloonquest1 Balloon Quest celebrates 25 years

    Today is the final day of the 25th annual Western Pennsylvania Balloon Quest at Scotland Meadows Park.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from July 26, 2014

    Man faces bomb threat charges

    June building tops $4 million in Hermitage

    July 26, 2014

  • Elderly man survives plane crash

    An elderly man survived wrecking his plane into a bank, then landing into a wetland, about 200 feet south of Runway 28 at Grove City Regional Airport in Springfield Township on Friday.

    July 26, 2014

  • Dontae Rashad Pinkins Man arrested for April gunfight

    Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April gunfight with another man in a Sharon alley.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hearing changed in starving case

    The time and place for the preliminary hearing of a Greenville mom accused of starving and beating her 7-year-old young son has been changed.

    July 26, 2014

  • Schell working on mural Drawn to Mexico

    Jason Schell probably is not exaggerating when he says that millions of people have seen his art.

    July 26, 2014 4 Photos

  • Farrell man, 24, arrested on warrant in connection with April shooting

    Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April shootout in Sharon.


    Pinkins, 24, of Farrell, is in Mercer County Jail after failing to post bond on gun charges.

    Additional details to follow.
     

    July 25, 2014

  • Firm will study timing of traffic signals

    Hermitage commissioners on Wednesday hired Whitman, Requardt and Associates LLP to study the timing scheme of traffic signals along parts of Hermitage Road and East State Street.

    July 25, 2014